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Biocept takes on coronavirus testing, trims losses in 2Q results

Biocept posted revenue of $917,000 in the quarter and saw overall volume of tests increase as coronavirus testing became a priority

Swab held next to a bottle labeled 'COVID-19'
To date, Biocept has processed more than 6,500 coronavirus specimens using its existing PCR technology at its lab

Biocept Inc (NASDAQ:BIOC) released second quarter results after the bell Wednesday that showed a narrowing loss and increase in commercial test volumes, despite the impact of the coronavirus.

In the three months ended June 30, revenue was $917,000, compared to $1.2 million in the same period of 2019, a dip the company attributed to the pandemic. Net loss was $6.5 million, $0.05 per share, versus $7.8 million, $0.38 per share, a year earlier.

Biocept’s posted commercial test sales of $841,000 in the quarter, down year-over-year from $1.1 million, but the overall volume of tests increased. The reason for the shift, Biocept said, was a decision from the company to launch coronavirus testing earlier this year.

"Due to our decision to initiate COVID-19 testing, overall commercial volume during the second quarter increased slightly versus the prior year, even with the impact of the pandemic," CEO Michael Nall said in a statement. "Commercial volume in our core oncology business was down 16% year-over-year, which is significantly better than the decline of up to 40% we anticipated in our second quarter forecast."

READ: Biocept strikes agreement with Aegea Biotechnologies to co-develop ultra-sensitive coronavirus detection test

Biocept logged 1,300 samples during the quarter, compared to 1,340 samples in the second quarter of 2019, although fewer of them were billable samples and many were coronavirus tests.

To date, Biocept has processed more than 6,500 coronavirus specimens using its existing PCR technology at its lab. That will continue to be part of the plan, according to the company. 

"For the immediate future, COVID-19 testing is an important part of our business and I'm pleased to report that we have received over 11,000 specimens to date," Nall said. "We have secured components to date for approximately 50,000 COVID-19 specimen collection kits to support current testing and expect to begin shipping our own COVID-19 specimen collection kits to our lab services customers later this year, which will contain our proprietary VEE-SURE viral transport media.”

Biocept also recently signed a development agreement with Aegea Biotechnologies to develop a highly sensitive PCR-based COVID-19 assay utilizing its proprietary Switch-Blocker technology.

But even as Biocept helps support public health efforts during the pandemic, the company still has its sights set on making a difference for physicians in oncology.

"As a long-term strategy, we remain focused on oncology and believe we are well positioned to weather the pandemic as we continue to make progress on multiple aspects of our core business and build for a strong future,” Nall added. “We are an established leader in liquid biopsy with our Target Selector assays, providing information that is critical to physician decision-making for their patients diagnosed with cancer. We expect that when the pandemic subsides, our commercial oncology volume will return to growth.  We believe our recently strengthened balance sheet will support this strategy."

Contact Andrew Kessel at andrew.kessel@proactiveinvestors.com

Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kessel

Quick facts: Biocept Inc

Price: 4.36 USD

NASDAQ:BIOC
Market: NASDAQ
Market Cap: $58.4 m
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